While the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic on the retail section have varied by category, what’s clear is that retailers will have to transform the customer journey in order to survive.
That’s according to the latest Consumers Insights Survey by PwC Canada.
The report, which focused on the lifestyles and shopping habits of consumers, found that due to factors like the rise of Generation Z and the trend of working from home, retailers will have to shift gears and focus more on e-commerce and evolving their brick-and-mortar presence.
When it comes to apparel shopping habits, the Canadian survey found that only 20% of Gen Z consumers were likely to buy from a department store, versus 33% of baby boomers. Gen Z also indicated on the survey that they would be more likely to visit a store if it included additional services like a coffee bar or spa. And finally, the survey found that 42% of Gen Z consumers were receptive to automated checkout points, and other digital experiences in stores.
The survey also found that with more consumers working from home, retailers will have to put more effort into online product discovery as e-commerce grows and will have to offer more athleisure products as many don’t need clothes for their workplace anymore.
So, what can retailers do to keep up with these emerging trends?
According to PwC, shifts by retailers have to be made to “have a better chance of winning” consumers. Here are the top four tips the survey offers to retailers to do this.
Go above and beyond when it comes to safety
The survey found that successful retailers will go “above and beyond” local guidelines when it comes to health and safety measures. These include having digitally-focused, contact-free experiences in-store to make customers feel safe while shopping.
“We see good opportunities for retailers that are vigilant about safety measures to both retain customers and potentially reach new ones who are looking for brands they can trust,” the report reads.
Rethink your e-commerce strategy
PwC said that to be successful, retailers should re-examine the role of the store and think about new ways customers can discover products, such as on your social media and online platforms.
“In expanding your e-commerce capabilities, focus on the fastest-growing channels – like mobile shopping – that have seen the biggest surges in activity during the pandemic,” the report reads.
Because of the pandemic, and the tastes of Gen Z, retailers won’t need as many brick-and-mortar stores. In the case where it makes sense for your business to have a physical store, PwC’s report advises repurposing your store format and size to respond to these consumer preferences.
Make the trip count
Gen Z shoppers need a reason to make a trip to your store. You can give that to them, the report says, by investing in your in-store experiences. Some examples include creating engaging social spaces and making the shopping experience a memorable one with digital features.